The best photo filter applications
Filter applications have been increasing in recent years.
Some effects improve brightness or colorimetry to enhance images, while others deeply alter subjects or apply creative masks.
Photo Retha Ferguson in Pexels
There is a wide variety of applications to apply the filters, we have selected the most original and practical for you.
Applying effects to improve shots is no longer just a matter for graphic designers working on dedicated computer creation workstations.
The cameras included in today’s smart phones sometimes give surprising results, and their technical capabilities allow these images to be processed directly, through the device’s touch interface.
Without providing the advanced features of creative software like the famous Adobe Photoshop, mobile applications can at least adjust brightness, colorimetry and sharpness.
They provide amateur photographers with pre-recorded effects that give images a retro, modern or artistic feel, depending on their choices.
Without the need for training in graphic design, they make it easy to create multi-shot compositions, apply distortion masks or add elements such as text, stickers or stylized borders.
The Android Play Store and iOS App Store are packed with mobile photo-editing applications. To help you choose, this article introduces you to the best photo filtering applications available today.
Instagram – The Social Network for Mobile Photographers
The Instagram social network is well known to the general public, as its mobile application is executed every month by more than one billion users. Launched in late 2010, Instagram was an immediate success, leading Facebook to acquire it in 2012.
The idea of Instagram was to offer effects that simulate professional photo development techniques. The images thus modified benefit from a sophisticated look without requiring any knowledge of graphic design.
Since then, the photo filter application has been considerably enriched by adding video and story handling. It is currently used by many companies to promote their products.
Instagram has contributed greatly to the adoption of moving picture filters and continues to offer a range of free effects and adjustments, hence its presence in our selection.
Benefits of Instagram :
- The interface is extremely easy to use and all available filters and effects are free.
- Social networks and hashtags are a huge source of creative content for inspiration.
- Synchronization with Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr
Disadvantages of Instagram:
- The number of filters and settings is limited
- To save a photo in full resolution, it is necessary to share it on the social network.
- It is impossible to manage the privacy settings of each image individually. The entire profile is either public or private.
Pixlr – A modern mobile photo editing application
Originally, Pixlr was an online photo retouching service that required Flash to work through any browser.
This tool is still available, but we are interested in the mobile application. The mobile application is based on a particularly well thought-out interface that allows you to quickly apply effects and settings to your photos.
Pixlr offers an interesting double exposure feature, which combines several images into one in an artistic way.
In addition to classic color temperature, contrast and brightness adjustments, the Photo Filter application provides tools to correct defects and red-eye, blur and a “ éclaboussure ” mode, which highlights a color in a black and white image.
Advantages of Pixlr :
- The design of the application is modern and intuitive.
- It is not necessary to create an account to use the application.
- Many free effects and filters are available
- The double exposure function allows you to artistically mix multiple images
Disadvantages of Pixlr :
- It does not support TIFF or RAW images.
- The official website does not offer any tutorials or FAQs.
Adobe Photoshop Express – Mobile photo editing, by Adobe
The name “ Photoshop ” is a reference in the field of image retouching. It evokes the range of tools of all kinds offered by Adobe’s computer software, which can transform any photo into a work of art in an instant.
The reality is more complicated, but Adobe takes advantage of this notoriety to offer a mobile application dedicated to photo editing, called Photoshop Express.
However, the interface is radically different and suitable for use on a touch screen.
The application offers a good variety of pre-recorded filters and allows the user to create new filters and save them for quick application to other images.
Crop and resize options include automatic formats such as 1:1 for Instagram or other sizes for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube illustrations.
Benefits of Adobe Photoshop Express :
- Offers both simple and technical customization options
- The interface is clear and orderly
- Synchronization with Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to import and export documents from other creative programs
- Support for RAW images
Disadvantages of Adobe Photoshop Express :
- It does not allow you to sew two photos together or change the background.
- It does not offer to save images to the SD card by default.
- In terms of functionality, the application has nothing to do with Photoshop computer software.
PicsArt – The most complete free photo retouching application
PicsArt deserves to be known by all those who are looking for a photo filter application that offers a maximum of possibilities to personalize photos.
It gives access to a number of advanced effects and touch up tools to correct blemishes, stretch lines or beautify by changing skin tone and hair color. PicsArt brushes are an easy way to add overlay elements.
PicsArt can be used free of charge for an unlimited period of time. You do not need to subscribe to PicsArt Gold, the premium service that removes ads and offers additional filters, templates, tools, stickers.
Advantages of PicsArt :
- It offers a large number of quality effects and filters
- It allows to share creations directly in PicsArt, but also in Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or any other application installed on the device.
- The interface is intuitive and the artificial intelligence is powerful.
Disadvantages of PicsArt:
- Some effects are resource intensive and can be slow on small devices.
- Free and paid effects are mixed in the interface.
- A pop-up window regularly suggests subscribing to PicsArt Gold
Things to remember
- In our selection, only Instagram is a completely free application. However, it is much more limited than its competitors, as it requires sharing of creations on the social network and offers only basic editing functions.
- Pixlr has the advantage of being usable without the need to create a user account, which can be a strong argument for users who care about respect for their privacy.
- Adobe Photoshop Express is interesting, but you will find many fans among its Adobe Creative Cloud customers, who will benefit from the synchronization between its different tools.
- PicsArt is by far the solution that offers the most retouching tools and effects of any kind. However, it is unfortunate that developers have chosen to mix paid and free filters, to encourage the user to subscribe to PicsArt Gold.